Venezuela: Report Reveals Increase in Public Protests in October
By Voice of America (VOA) December 26, 2019
“People’s discontent” in Venezuela incited 1,739 protests in October, according to a study from the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS, in Spanish).
The entity concluded that the “demand for economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights” is still connected to demands for employment and better public services, as well as education, health, and food.
OVCS indicated in a 14-page report that these demands are present in 91 percent (1,574) of all registered protests.
The social, economic, and political situation in Venezuela has caused a humanitarian crisis, which can be seen in the massive migration of Venezuelan nationals seeking better living conditions and freedoms in several countries of the region and around the world.
On December 5, Eduardo Stein, U.N. Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, said in an AP interview that the exodus of more than 4.6 million people has caused irreversible changes in Latin America.
Even if the Venezuelan crisis is resolved quickly, it will be difficult for migrants to return home, and “the entire region won’t be the same,” said Stein.
“We must foresee that this population won’t go back immediately, even if there’s a political solution tomorrow,” he added.
Discontent rising inevitably
Compared to the same period in 2018, protests have increased by 18 percent.
Graphics in the OVCS report indicated that the rest of the protests were held to “demand civil and political rights that included opposition groups and followers of the [Nicolás] Maduro regime.”
The observatory made a map showing the areas that expressed discontent. Anzoátegui state led the protests in October, with 148 of the 1,739 reported throughout the country. This was followed by the states of Bolívar (130), Mérida (114), Miranda (105), Trujillo (101), and the Capital District (97).
Among others, the study reflected protests by public sector workers “demanding decent wages and respect for their collective contracts.”
OVCS indicated that “the educational sector led the protests,” followed by the health and basic industry unions.
The Maduro regime responded with “threats, disciplinary sanctions, [and] wage suspensions,” among other measures, the observatory says.
The lack of response has encouraged protesters to carry out new actions to show their concerns and demands, such as strikes, street blockades, protests, and gatherings in public places.
Finally, the observatory urged the Maduro regime in Venezuela to “listen to people’s demands,” to “move toward a transition process to restore democracy,” and to respect citizens’ rights to conduct public protests.